Monday, November 11, 2019

PROJECTS FINISHED

It was a bit cold this weekend, but beautiful.  I finished the projects that I needed to finish...

Raised bed garden
The garden is done for the season and ready for next year's planting...

Raised bed orchard
Side note, we've always liked this view.  It's the side of the house as you walk toward the back and you first see the orchard.

Backyard orchard
I also got the orchard beds cleaned up as best as possible.  I cleaned out the weeds and grass inside of each one and then I edged all around them.  It looks neat and tidy now which is what we wanted.

We really need to figure out a way to prevent that next year.  I don't mind edging around them, that comes with the territory, but the grass in the beds, not sure how to prevent that.  We had all of that beautiful mulch down a few months ago and then it was filled with grass.  I don't know if weed block cloth and nothing else is what we need?  Or if being black it would heat up the soil? 

After last weekend's spiders and snake this weekend was free of creatures.  Well, let's be clear, it was free in the sense that I didn't SEE any of them and that's a good thing.

Tomorrow, the freeze prepping...


We would also like to give a big shout out today to all the veterans who have served our country.  You have sacrificed so much for the nation. Thank you for your service and thank you also to all who serve now.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

GOOD BREAD AND NAPPING

Hope you are having a good weekend.  It's been a cold one here but clear and beautiful.

Platinum sourdough instant yeast
A week or so ago I bought a new (new to us anyway) product for 2nd Man.  It's a package of instant sourdough yeast.  I found it at HEB but you can buy it on Amazon here: Platinum Instant Sourdough Yeast

So he decided to make bread on this cold weekend.

Homemade sourdough
He made two loaves and they came out very nicely.  Crispy crust...

Sourdough bread and butter
...and had a great crumb inside with nice holes from the bubbles.  The sourdough flavor was good (though subtle) and we have been eating on it all weekend with butter.  It's very good.

Sleeping kitty
And what else to do on a cold day?  Sleep we have slept and of course that's what Hobart is currently doing.  Sleeping on his afghan (yes, this thrift store find has become HIS preferred sleeping blanket).  Of course it was placed in the sunshine coming through the windows.

Life is good.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Friday, November 8, 2019

BURGER STACKING FOOD DEBATE

It's time for the "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world...LOL!

This week, the burning question is:


Apparently this is another thing that we didn't realize was so polarizing.  Apparently it started after emojis were released that showed cheese both under the meat patty and of course over the top.


So we did some checking and it caused a debate on the Internet with people taking up both sides. 

If the cheese is on top of the meat, it melts and drips down the sides of the meat while holding the top ingredients in place.  Others say that if you put it on the bottom, the heat still melts it but the cheese keeps the juices from soaking into the bottom bun.

An interesting perspective but 2nd Man and I have always done the cheese on top of the meat and then condiments on top of this.  Of course, then lettuce over or under?  I guess the debate could be on several aspects of burger "design".

So...how do you stack your burgers?


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

BALL HAS A NEW COLOR

Was in the store at lunch the other day and saw these...


Ball Jars brand has a new color.  It's called Collector's Edition and is Aqua Blue.  At first I thought "what's the difference with this vs the blue they came out with a few years ago?" 


 Then I went back and looked at the blue from then and compared it to this aqua.  

\
Definitely a difference.  I think when they are all in the box they seem bluer but these are definitely an aqua green just like old school originals from about 100 years ago.  Another difference, these have a galvanized style finish lid and seal like the originals and most differently, they have the original flat bottom style like the old jars.

Hmm...since we have sets of the previous colors, purple, blue, green, etc, well I guess I'm just going to have to get a set or two of these to add to the collection for future use.


Monday, November 4, 2019

CAPTAIN 1ST MAN AND THE WINTER GARDEN

It was as near a perfect weekend as we get around these parts.  Cool, breezy, low humidity.  I was psyched for the day's adventure.

Raised beds
The main goal was to work in the garden and close it up for the Winter.  We aren't going to have a Fall garden so I had just been waiting for a non rainy and non 90 degree day to work on it.  The first thing I do is pull up all the weeds and grass and then I turn the soil with a shovel and rake it smooth before adding a bag of soil blend.

I got these four raked up and emptied of grass and weeds.  This is a work in progress photo.

Overgrown bed
Then I turned to the two hardest beds.  The front two were full.  Nothing had been planted in them so the weeds took over.  This one had these tall weeds of some sort growing, the one next to it had mostly grass.  This photo was after I had already pulled up about half of them.  I remembered "oh I need to take a picture" and so I did.  Then I proceeded to finish pulling it all.  It was nice and empty and might I remind you, all DONE BY HAND.  

Then I got the shovel and rake out so I could turn the soil before adding a new bag.

I turned the soil a bit so I got the rake and started raking it.  As I pulled the rake toward me...

SNAKE!
...THIS POPPED UP!

I dropped the rake and screamed quietly ran backed away from the snake.

I stood there contemplating this turn of events and how best to handle it.  

Do I try to kill it with a shovel?
What kind of snake is it?  
Do I just give up for the day?

Raised bed invaders
As I stood there looking at the obstacles that life can sometimes put in our way, I saw something moving along the edge of the same raised bed where the snake was.  Do you see it?  

Here, let me enlarge it for you...

Black widow spider
Yep.

That's a BLACK WIDOW SPIDER.  

What is it about this raised bed?  Is it trying to kill me or something?

Giving up for the day was looking better and better.

Then I realized this is life at the farm, it's the things we'll have to adapt to and figure out a solution.

The spider solution was easy.  It died shortly after the photo was taken.  The snake turned out to be a rat snake, the most common ones we have out there.  Not venomous.  But still, how to handle?  

I looked around and saw the old galvanized trashcans from a prior potato growing experiment.  I grabbed one, took the lid off and put it in the bed near the snake.

Rat snake
This is the snake heading in the general direction of the can.  I held the rake in one hand and the trash can lid in the other...


It looked somewhat like this*

*2nd Man tells me to make sure I clarify it looked nothing like this.

The snake opened its mouth at the rake a couple of times but it finally slithered in...

Snake in a can
...here it is in the bottom of the can right before I put the lid on.  I then carried it to a distant part of the property, took the lid off and tipped it over.  It slithered into the brush and disappeared.

I took a well deserved break to allow my heart rate to return to normal and went back to the garden.

Raised bed done
Here is the snake/spider bed after I finally finished it.  I worked on the other beds and I am almost done but I need another weekend to complete them all.  I have a lot of dried grass and dead weeds to take up from the ground and make it look somewhat better but the hard work was done.  

I decided to go work on the fruit tree beds while I had the necessary tools already out and my heart rate was already high.  

I started at one end and edged them all then started pulling weeds.  I got about half of them done and then I saw this...

Black widow

Nope.

That's it.

Done.

Time to wrap it up for the day.

(FYI this black widow spider also died shortly after the photo was taken).

As pulse pounding as it was, it was still a good weekend.  We had errands to run Sunday but I got a lot done on Saturday.  This coming weekend should be both days and I can get finished up for the Winter.

I don't like spiders and snakes...
(wasn't that a song?)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

FALL BACK


If you are in an area that observes it, don't forget, we get an extra hour of sleep in the morning.  Set your clocks back before you go to bed.  Or just follow the handy guide above, LOL!

I'll have more of an update later this weekend, today was productive but also had a few scary encounters.

Stay tuned...

Friday, November 1, 2019

OPEN OR CLOSED FRIDAY DEBATE

Normally on Friday, we do a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world...but this week we'll expand to another random fun question.

This week, the burning question is:



This topic came up and my office recently.  We were all talking about sleeping at night and the topic of the door came up.  Some of the people at the office slept with he door shut always, others slept with it open.  I had to think about it for a moment.  Having a cat (probably a dog too) means you most likely have to leave the door open so as to avoid nighttime and/or morning drama, ha!

So I thought back to when I didn't have a cat and I slept with the bedroom door open.  2nd Man said he always left the door open too, even when he lived alone.  Now of course we've always had a pet since we first met and so the door has always been open.

We realize there are pets, kids, maybe roommates or relatives and that can affect decisions as well.  But in general, all things considered...

How do you like to sleep?  With the bedroom door open or closed?



Thursday, October 31, 2019

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2019


It's Halloween.

Happy Halloween to you all!

Had a debate with a dear friend.
She pronounces it:  HOLLOW-een.
We've always pronounced it: HAL-oween.

I'm not sure if this is a regional thing or what.  

So how do you pronounce it?


And sorry to our Houston Astros who came so close to winning the World Series.  But hey, we've now gone two times in the three years.  I think we're on the right track for sure.  


And since it's technically "Inspiration Thursday", here is a porch we like, love the bats flying across the front door.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

OH GREAT THERE'S ANOTHER ONE

So...this past weekend I was thinking of moving THE BOX and looking for the snake. In preparation for that I needed to move some stuff around so I picked up a bag of mulch that was on the end of the porch...


...and was met with this. ANOTHER snake skin.

What the hell? 

Is this the porch of snakes?  I will tell you that it makes you think twice about dozing off in the rocking chair on a nice cool day.  


Perhaps we should call Samuel L. Jackson, we understand he has some experience with snakes...

Monday, October 28, 2019

ZEN MACHINE TIME

The weather this weekend was perfect.  A front came through Thursday night into Friday and there were huge storms around.  In Houston we got rain.  I was worried that the farm would be too wet to mow.  There was no measurable rain out there!


So I hopped on the Zen Machine.  It was cool and crisp and clear.


Here's my mowing app.  I mowed everything and then some extra (more on that in a future post).  About the average length of time but I did mow more than usual so it went fast.


It all came out perfectly.  Look at the blue sky!  It was one of the few times a year I can spend almost two hours on the mower and never break a sweat.

This will probably be the last time this year, though I may try something I did a few years back.  Mowing in the middle of Winter when everything is dormant and brown and dry and I can see what I'm mowing through and that way I can clear wider paths and even new areas around the property.  Then it's easier to keep it cleared in the Spring.


I did notice this branch that had fallen in high winds. It's a mesquite tree and they have notoriously weak branches as they get bigger.  I'll need to get the chainsaw out.  I hate cleaning these up as they are covered in thorns.  And they are SHARP.  Ugh.


Cool weather and time on the Zen Machine, it was a great weekend!!